FBM KLCI lower as HK protests, trade war dent sentiment

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 12): The FBM KLCI finished 0.46 point or 0.03% lower today at 1,650.74 amid persisting US-China trade war concerns and as mass protests in Hong Kong dented markets. Analysts said weaker crude oil prices had also sidelined investors.

Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd senior analyst Kenneth Leong told theedgemarkets.com that the KLCI retreated amid negative performance across Asian stock indices, bogged down by the prolonged US-China trade standoff, besides Hong Kong's mass protests, during which protesters clashed with police in demonstration against laws that would allow citizens to be extradited to China.

“Back home (in Malaysia), the lack of fresh catalysts and weakness in crude oil prices sent investors retreating to the sidelines with trading volume below the two billion mark," Leong said.

At 5pm, the KLCI pared losses at 1,650.74 after falling to its intraday low at 1,642.11. Across Bursa Malaysia, turnover stood at 1.76 billion shares worth RM1.61 billion amid weaker crude oil prices.

Reuters reported that oil prices fell nearly 2% on Wednesday, weighed down by a weaker demand outlook and a rise in US crude inventories despite growing expectations of ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts. It was reported that Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were down US$1.16, or 1.86%, at US$61.13 a barrel by 0616 GMT.

Across Asian stock markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite closed down 1.73% and 0.56% respectively. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed 0.35% down while South Korea's Kospi finished 0.14% lower.

Reuters reported that Asian share markets were in a defensive stance on Wednesday as the White House took a tough line on trade talks with China. It was reported that US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was holding up a trade deal with China and had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agrees to four or five "major points" which he did not specify.

In Hong Kong, it was reported that financial markets came under pressure on Wednesday, with stocks falling and demand for cash surging, as tens of thousands of protesters clashed with police in a demonstration against legislation that would allow citizens to be extradited to China.